Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Making Space to Soar


“This clutter is really bothering me, do you mind if organize it?” 

I wondered what in my rather tidy house could be offending my nine-year-old niece so much that she wanted to clean it. 

I walked into the kitchen and found her standing in front of my refrigerator, studying the shelves. She didn’t like how things were arranged. 

I was a little surprised because honestly, there’s not much in my refrigerator. 

Some containers of strawberries, packs of yogurt, a carton of eggs and about 15 jars of jam is pretty much the extent of it. 



There aren't any abandoned takeout containers hiding in the corners or condiments that are years old.

But I told her to go ahead and move things around however she liked. 

She methodically checked the expiration dates on my cartons of half-and-half and moved the oldest items to the front. She organized my cheese by type and put all the jars on one shelf. 

I asked her why she didn’t tackle the refrigerator at her own house {since I was sure my sister would welcome the help}. She said hers is stocked pretty full but since mine was sort of empty, it was easier to move things around.

I guess when you or your life {or your refrigerator} is fairly empty, there’s room to be filled up.



I’ve been thinking about giving God access to move things around in my life. 

Oh I know he can move in our lives however he sees fit, but there’s something about offering ourselves to him and letting him rearrange those things that we hold on to and letting him rearrange us.  

Because there are so many preoccupations that vie for my attention. 

There's the job-stress {exasperating and recurring}, nagging worries {insignificant and vast}, and perplexing decisions {bulky and trivial}.

But mostly there's the continuous stream of a thousand thoughts that constantly call my name and never have an off-switch.



I'm not sure there is a serene and quiet place where all of it dissipates and unruffles and I feel unflustered and composed.

Life won't linger until everything is organized and sorted through and neatened up, will it? 

So maybe it’s time to make some space in our lives now.

Space for the ordinary and the extraordinary. 

For a blaze of color and creation; breathtaking bliss and wonder; exciting enrichment and adventure; the familiar and unknown; for stillness and sweeping swaths of silence. 





Those are just a slice of the million and one things that are waiting for us to offer space and make room.

So when we fluff the cushions, take a seat and look out over the scenery of our lives, all that clutters is just waiting to be moved around. So we can spread our wings. 

And soar.


Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
 
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
 
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
 
-Is. 40:27-31 (MSG)

My niece was quite pleased with her work on my refrigerator shelves and turned her attention to the bags sitting on the floor we’d just brought in from the grocery store. 

“Now I’ll unpack all of these, arrange them in categories and I’ll hand them to you to put away,” she told me.

As I followed her direction, I thought that maybe since I've got more space in my refrigerator, I ought to do some cooking so I'll have leftovers to stock my shelves with. 

Or I could always just call for takeout. I've now got plenty of room for those cute little containers.



A little note on the photos: Thanks to my mother for the Valerie Market photos from her trip to Los Angeles and thanks to my sister for the veggie bar photo from her trip to Rancho Palos Verdes.

I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there for more encouraging posts from my blogger friends!





34 comments:

  1. Loved the photos and your sweet niece who God used to reveal some deeper truths. Thank you for sharing them. I do like the thought of room for God to rearrange things. Yes!

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    1. Hi Debby,
      I'm learning there are deeper truths often all around me if I just get out my little spade and dig for them -- it's so worth it!

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  2. Well, Valerie, this is a powerful post. Yes, God will arrange and rearrange the pieces of our lives to suit His will and His ways. But how much more joyful the ride when we cooperate with His efforts and give Him free rein.

    I'm scrolling up to read it one more time ...

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    1. Yes, cooperating with him is more joyful -- love how you worded that -- I'm going to ponder that truth this week, friend! xo

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  3. Hi Valerie,
    How fun to share photos and gifts, including the organizer gene :) from your whole family! I love this thought, in preparation for autumn and winter. "For a blaze of color and creation; breathtaking bliss and wonder; exciting enrichment and adventure; the familiar and unknown; for stillness and sweeping swaths of silence." This is usually a sad time of year for me, leaving the warmth of spring and summer behind. But I'm going to try to remember your beautiful words now this year! --Blessings & Hugs!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I'm not a fan of fall and winter either but I want to learn to appreciate the colors of fall more, too! The ending of any season just means a new one is waiting to come to life and it just takes time. I'm joining you in appreciating autumn this year! :)

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  4. Bunches of thoughts to share with you after just reading your title alone... and then I read the content of your post (twice!) but mainly I have such praise for a God who is reinforcing so many lessons this week through your sweet post. I'll share just a few things..
    1. This ---> "hers is stocked pretty full but since mine was sort of empty, it was easier to move things around" <--- YES and AMEN... God's leading me to throw out and let go of some attitudes and things that have been cluttering my mind...
    2. All week long I have been running across "the grass will wither and the flowers will fade but the word of our Lord will last forever..." God lasts, not stuff...
    3. Last night's dream--- was full of over sized bridges, oceans and mountains--- and in all honesty, big things scare me maybe because they make me feel small? Or powerless? And though I remember feeling fearful in the wide open space of my dream- there was also an eagle soaring and I was intrigued by his freedom and flight. (I'm guessing this had something to do with Psalm 118:5 which was the verse in my devotional from yesterday morning... "...the lord answered me and put me in a spacious place.")
    So thank you Valerie for listening and sharing what God puts on your heart here for all the world to see and be inspired by. ♥ You've touched my heart today in a million ways... xo

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    1. Heather,
      I love that an image of an eagle soaring was in your dream -- I find them so intriguing and majestic too. There is so much to take away from what God is showing you lately and your willingness to let him rearrange you is inspiring - -it sounds as if we're on similar paths! I find the less internal clutter I have, the easier it is to move and change and rearrange and see what God thinks. I love what you said about a spacious place -- oh I just love that! xo xo Thank you for sharing your heart here!

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  5. You are the best aunty. I can never get over how adult like little Devon is! Her inclination to organize your fridge speaks to my soul. I hate a messy fridge. Love this post! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Brittany,
      The earlier someone learns to clean, the better, right?! :) I never mind her coming to clean at my house -- it's lovely!

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    2. I agree! Send her over anytime! ;)

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  6. Wow, Valerie! What an organized niece and what a great aunt you are! :) My heart is so touched how you come up with such awesome spiritual lessons from ordinary events. I had to pray, "God, please unclutter and rearrange my life and my heart so I can soar to your glory." Thank you for the encouragement! I love the Isaiah verses! Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy,
      I think I love so many different versions of those verses -- they read like poetry! I wonder if my niece will still like to clean when she gets older -- sometimes those early habits don't continue through life . . . and oh, she's afraid of frogs too! :) xo

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    2. Thank you for always adding smiles to my day, Valerie. :) You know... Frogs really are harmless. :) You are often in my heart and prayers. Hugs!

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  7. I love how God can teach us through the everyday things. And it's true that it's easy to get caught up in the clutter of life but it is much better when we make some space to listen to God and allow him to rearrange things as he wants.

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      God is all around us in so many things that we're doing but I wonder how many times I overlook and miss what he's doing when I'm distracted . . . I love it when we open our eyes we see from a new perspective -- thanks for being here today!

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  8. Hi Valerie-so nice to get your blog and connect with you today! Love to hear and share in the ways God is working in your life - it really speaks to me each time I visit here. Today this is perfect for me since I have been wrestling hard through a decision that I thought was obvious a few weeks ago but due to our family’s multiple medical issues I felt the need to pull out of. I have been feeling guilty about it all day but in my heart I know it is right. I felt we needed space to handle things and the commitment I was about to make would have taken that. Anyway thank you for encouraging my heart that making this space is ok and God wants that. (even if the other choice felt more like “ministry”) Anyway sorry for rambling on- Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart - so valuable to me! with much love- xo :)

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I can't tell you how much your words mean to me. I considered not even posting this week as I felt rather uninspired but yet felt nudged by God to include these words and maybe they were for you! I've been praying for you all summer.

      I know how hard it is to make a decision (I've particularly found this difficult lately!) and try to follow where God's leading. I know what it's like when you feel guilty saying no to a ministry, too, for whatever personal reason you have. And your comments are never rambling on -- I'm always eager to read your words and was going to message you on FB to see how you were doing! I've thought of you so often this summer, but saw how busy you were with your family. Thank you for sharing these words on your heart -- you have greatly encouraged me! xo

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    2. Hi- Thanks for these kind words! You are so thoughtful to be praying for me!! I am so touched. Thank you!! It has been a really rough summer!! :(!! and I feel like I am going into the fall more drained than ever!! (not good!!) Tonight I am sad because the response to our decision was not as I hoped and so have been wrestling more today with feeling guilty and trying to let it go!! Finding it so hard to hear from God lately or maybe just sure that I am hearing ?- my mind is so full hard to know what is what - Idk - Thank you so much for posting and for sharing your journey! I am so blessed to have found you and count you as a dear friend. xo

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    3. I have been praying for you, too, Susie. I have tried to find your email a couple of months ago and again this week, but I can't find it. I didn't find you on Twitter either. Apparently you are on Facebook, but I'm not. Anyway, I'm so sorry your summer has been so rough. And I'm so sorry the response to your decision was not as you hoped. Please don't feel guilty. (I know it's hard not to though.) Remember your family is also a ministry. And that other ministry? There are many who can do it. But your children have only one mom. May God give your rest in body and soul! Hugs!

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    4. Hi Trudi! Thank you so much for your prayers and your kind words which have helped me so much!! I have missed reading your blog each week this summer and hope you will be back soon! I hope you feel refreshed and rested too! I don't have a Twitter but have Instagram and FB. I would love to connect on email-I thought it was on my blog? I will check and add it somehow-- so nice to hear from you!! Praying for you too! Thank you for being a friend to me!! With much love xox

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    5. I am blessed to have you for a friend, Susie. I miss reading your blog, too. In fact, this week I scrolled through it just to view your artwork. :) Both your poems and your artwork are so creative. :) To be honest, I am struggling to get back to posting. I keep praying, but I keep feeling so stuck. Hugs!

      I'm blessed to have you for a friend, too, Valerie. Your weekly posts always brighten my day. :) And thanks for allowing me to use your site to connect to Susie. :)

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    6. Susie and Trudy,
      I'm so happy when you connect here! xo

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  9. HI Valerie! I love to see how God placed on both of our hearts similar things but at different angles. I too just want to allow Him to have all of me. Why do I continue to hold onto things that prevent me from following through with His plan for me. It is such a beautiful plan. He wants to bless me. But relationships and hurt and the need to be fearful and anxious and pleasing people clutters my heart. THank you for sharing these beautiful and encouraging words.
    Oh by the way. you should like a fun aunt! It seems like you really enjoy their presence and you are close. Hope you have a good rest of the week

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      So many things can be our clutter, can't they? I always find it amazing what distracts me and can cause so much angst in my heart. God's plans are beautiful for us but sometimes not so easy. :) I love being an auntie and they always make me laugh when I see glimpses of the little adults they are becoming! xo

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  10. Give God access to move things around.
    Doesn't that sound like an adventure? I want to be up for adventure and change more than I am. When I let God surprise me, it is always the best!

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    1. Sarah,
      It does sound like an adventure -- I love that!

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  11. Okay Valerie, today you made me get chills as I read your words. Just this morning I pouted to God and told him how my life feels empty and lonely right now...and now, you have me realizing the emptiness just leaves more room for him to fill me up. And really, does it get much better than that? Thank you for giving me a much needed new perspective my friend!

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    1. Hi Kylie,
      Your words mean so much -- I almost thought my little story was too trivial to post but I'm so glad you enjoyed it -- I love it when God points things out to us! I'm with you, girl, on the lonely and empty treadmill sometimes but that just leaves us more time to travel the world -- perhaps another trip to Paris!? :)

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  12. That is so sweet of your niece! I loved this post. It reminds me that when I take my eyes of Christ and onto the world, I will try to fill my 'fridge' and may be satisfied but only temporarily. It constantly gets emptied, filled and needs rearranging while with God we are always perfectly satisfied.

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    1. Lynn,
      I love that! We are constantly emptied, filled and rearranged -- yes!

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  13. I apologize if I already commented (I tried to scroll to look). I am experiencing momma brain. I had your lovely blog up all week and kept getting interrupted by littles so here I am before they awake. I wanted to comment to not only tell you the photos are pretty nifty but say hello! I am praying for you as you open your hands, heart and mind to what God has for you. I am so with you on the thoughts that won't shut off. I have had to learn to make a special space for writing and thinking without everything else grabbing my attention, and so today as I reread your words I see how it meshes well with Meredith Carr's last post of the "Pregnant Pause" and also Jennifer Dukes Lee's book. God is so good how He relays messages gently and faithfully so our hearts have time to "get it" and "process it." Thanks for sharing this today, because He really did speak to me through it. Blessings to you friend and sister in Christ!

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    1. Hi Meg,
      No you haven't been here yet! :) I so appreciate you thinking about coming back here to comment and I'm so grateful for your prayers! I love it too when God echoes his words to us through different communication channels -- I always perk up my ears to listen and know I should be paying attention! Praying for you too, Meg! xo

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  14. What a sweet little niece you have, Valerie. I think you need to send her over to my house ;). My refrigerator could definitely use an overhaul. Your analogy of giving God space in our lives to move things around is perfect and inspiring. I love the pictures you've shared here. It looks like you need to make a little trip to LA and visit your namesake bakery.

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